Talk to me, patients are demanding in unison. Most health consumers expect providers to communicate about routine health care and prevention; this is especially true among those patients trying to manage chronic conditions we learn from 10 Ways to Fulfill Patients’ Communication Wish List, a report based on a consumer survey from West, the communications and network infrastructure company.

Four in five patients say that talking to “me” means they want personalized recommendations to their unique needs – but only one-third of patients say they’re getting that level of service from their healthcare providers.

Most health consumers expect providers to communicate about routine health care helping them track lab results, recommend and schedule preventive tests and screenings, text or online chat between appointments, and send reminders about taking medicines.

This demand for communication is even more acute among patient managing chronic diseases, West found.

Most patients want personalized chronic disease support, help with understanding and dealing with specific health metrics for personalized health metrics. Two-thirds of people want to receive medication reminders, too. In addition to wanting a higher communication standard for clinical information and self-care, three-quarters of patients also want an easy way to understand and paying their medical bills. Less than half say they’re currently getting that support from health care providers.

It’s important to note that the percentage of people who want communication about what their insurance covers versus what they owe is 80%. The percent of people wanting personalized recommendations for managing chronic conditions was 78%.

Thus, patients-as-health-consumers are looking for personalized health care integrally bundled with understanding what that care will personally cost them.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  Nine in ten patients said they’d look for different health care providers if they were dissatisfied with their patient experience, West’s research found.

Satisfaction outweighs loyalty. And that satisfaction extends to the range of patient experience, across clinical, social/communication (bed- and web-side manner), and financial aspects.

Given that satisfaction leads to trust and then loyalty, retail marketing tactics have come to health care to deal with patients’ growing expectations as health care consumers. Check out Cigna’s “Go. Know. Take Control.” campaign, the first iteration of which featured the “TV Doctors of America.” Currently the campaign engages three popular celebrities: Nick Jonas (a person managing Type 1 Diabetes), Queen Latifah, and Ted Danson. They message the Go-Know-Control mantra bundling a mental health call-to-action as well. Queen Latifah is quoted in the press release for the ad saying, “It was important for me to partner with Cigna because they are looking at not just the body, but whole person wellness. I’m so grateful for my fans and I want every one of them to be the best versions of themselves they can possibly be. That means being proactive about your health by scheduling an annual well-exam and then making that time with your doctors meaningful by being open and honest about how you’re feeling.”

This message of authenticity and whole-person health speaks to what West’s research uncovered. Patients as consumers and payors see health across all facets of daily living, and getting real about our numbers (health metrics) and feelings about life can help us “Go. Know. Take Control,” a phrase which Cigna has service-marked.

I’ll be brainstorming this growing retail health ethos at HIMSS 2019 next week in Orlando on my panel with Greg Orr of Walgreens, Nick Desai of Heal, and Peter Rasmussen of Cleveland Clinic — three health/care organizations that have taken a page out of the retail marketing playbook.

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